WASHINGTON — The Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration is seeking comments from carriers and driver on how much time is spent at shippers and receivers loading and unloading.
In a notice to published in the Federal Record Monday, the FMCSA said a number of studies have examined the issue of CMV driver delays in the loading and unloading process, and what their potential impact may be on roadway safety and the economy.
The agency noted that the Government Accountability Office (GAO), in its report “More Could Be Done to Determine Impact of Excessive Loading and Unloading Wait Times on Hours of Service Violations, recommended that “FMCSA examine the extent to which detention
time contributes to hours of service violations in its future studies on driver fatigue and detention time.”
In response to the GAO report, FMCSA sponsored a study among a sample of carriers which generated estimates of driver delay times.
Among the sampled carriers, the study found that drivers experienced detention time during approximately 10 percent of their stops for an average duration of 1.4 hours beyond a commonly accepted two-hour loading and unloading time.
Most recently, in a 2018 report titled “Estimates Show Commercial Driver Detention Increases Crash Risks and Costs, but Current Data Limit Further Analysis,” the Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General recommended that FMCSA collaborate with industry stakeholders to develop and implement a plan to collect and analyze reliable, accurate, and representative data on the frequency and severity of driver detention.
“Although the above referenced studies estimated overall wait times, they were not able to separate normal loading and unloading times (e.g., the time it would usually take to load and unload a CMV under typical schedules) from detention time (delays in the start of the loading and unloading process which disrupt the driver’s available driving and/or on-duty time). This is a critical data gap in our understanding of the detention issue,” the FMCSA said.
Specifically, FMCSA requests information that addresses the following questions:
- Are data currently available that can accurately record loading, unloading, and delay times?
- Is there technology available that could record and delineate prompt loading and unloading times versus the extended delays sometimes experienced by drivers?
- How can delay times be captured and recorded in a systematic, comparable manner?
- Could systematic collection and publication of loading, unloading, and delay times be useful in driver or carrier business decisions and help to reduce loading, unloading, and delay times?
- What should FMCSA use as an estimate of reasonable loading/unloading time? Please provide a basis for your response.
- How do contract arrangements between carriers and shippers address acceptable wait times? Do these arrangements include penalties for delays attributable to a carrier or shipper?
- What actions by FMCSA, within its current statutory authority, would help to reduce loading, unloading, and delay times?
To submit a comment online, go to http://www.regulations.gov, put the docket number, FMCSA-2019-0054, in the “Keyword” box, and click “Search.” When the new screen appears, click on the “Comment Now!” button and type your comment into the text box on the following screen. Choose whether you are submitting your comment as an individual or on behalf of a third party and then submit.